Album Review: Dead Letter Circus - 'This is the Warning'

28 May 2010 | 7:24 pm | Staff Writer

Another reason why Australian music is in a good position.

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The proverbial and often token phrase ‘making it in the business’ is bandied around so much (particularly in music circles) that its true meaning gets lost in a sea of dull bands that unfairly are referred to as this decades ‘it’ band. Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus is certainly one group whose hype seemingly matches their musical output. The redeeming feature however, is that this publicity and overall interest appears warranted. The band is not at the forefront of the Aussie rock/alternative scene yet, but debut album ‘This is the Warning’ shows confidence, potential and a styling that will endear itself to listeners.

Two EP’s preceding this debut offering has seen the Queensland quartet garner a solid following. The fondness and similarities with prominent local successes, namely Karnivool, Cog, The Butterfly Effect etc, is clear. Fortunately, for the group and listeners alike the music does not come off as derivative. It would be all too easy to alter and re-work the Karnivool blueprint to fit itself into the DLC sound. Instead, the band wears their influences on their sleeves using them only as a guide before creating their own unique blend of progressive fused rock.

‘Here We Divide’ is an effective opener that asserts the band’s musical qualities – melody mixed with rough hooks, polished vocals paralleled with swaying rhythm and so on. ‘This Long Hour’ contrasts a progressive verse section that has certain abstract qualities before launching into a memorable and driving chorus. While, ‘Next in Line’ is one of the album’s consistently faster and more upbeat numbers. What each song highlights well is that the DLC sound has a certain atmosphere and intensity to it.

There are some instances where ‘This is the Warning’ feels like it is going through the motions but this is infrequent at best. The album has an understated pace to it.

It is assumed from listening to ‘This is the Warning’ that the tags, praise and overall acclaim are going to come Dead Letter Circus’s way. We will stop short of making any overtop comments that cannot be retracted. Instead, ‘This is the Warning’ can and should be viewed as an impressive debut but not one that makes everything else looks inferior in direct comparison.

With Dead Letter Circus cracking number two on the ARIA charts and currently in the midst of playing a string of sold out Australian shows – the future may look bright but the present appears equally as assured. Well worth a listen.

1. Here We Divide

2. One Step

3. Big

4. The Space on the Wall

5. The Long Hour

6. Cage

7. Reaction

8. The Drum

9. The Design

10. Next in Line

11. Walk

12. This is the Warning

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